What land covers are effective in mitigating a heat island in urban building rooftop?

Monday, 15 December 2014
SeungJoon Lee, Seoul National University, Landscape Architecture and Rural Systems Engineering, Seoul, South Korea and Youngryel Ryu, Seoul National University, Department of Landscape Architecture and Rural Systems Engineering, Seoul, South Korea
Since the 20th century, due to the rapid urbanization many urban environment problems have got blossomed and above all heat island has been recognized as an important issue. There are several causes of urban heat island, but land cover change occupies the largest portion of them. Owing to urban expansion, vegetation is changed into asphalt pavements and concrete buildings, which reduces latent heat flux. To mitigate the problems, people enlarge vegetation covers such as planting street trees, making rooftop gardens and constructing parks or install white roofs that feature high albedo on a building. While the white roofs reflect about 70% of solar radiation and absorb less radiation, vegetation has low albedo but cools the air through transpiration and fixes carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. There are some studies concerning which one is more effective to mitigate heat island between the green roof and white roof. This study compares the green roof and white roof and additionally considers carbon fixation that has not been treated in other studies. Furthermore, this study ascertains an efficiency of solar-cell panel that is used for building roof recently. The panel produces electric power but has low albedo which could warm the air. The experiment is conducted at the rooftop in Seoul, Korea and compares green roof (grass), white roof (painted cover), black roof (solar panel) and normal painted roof. Surface temperature and albedo are observed for the four roof types and incoming shortwave, outgoing longwave and carbon flux are measured in green roof solely. In the case of solar panels, the electricity generation is calculated from the incoming radiation. We compute global warming potentials for the four roof types and test which roof type is most effective in reducing global warming potential.